DESTIN, Fla. (WKRG) — Realtors, brokers, sellers and home buyers all agree the housing market has increased since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. For tourist destination Okaloosa County, experts said the average sales price for homes is $485,000.

Data sites like Redfin.com and Realtor.com list the market history for Okaloosa County homes. Redfin tracked the 2022 prices to date at a 9.6% increase. The price per square footage increased by 14.9%.

Joe Capelotti, president-elect for Emerald Coast Association of Realtors said there is a difference between average and media that folks need to be aware of.

So the average is you know the very simple math. Take the numbers, add them all together, divided by the units and you get the average price in Okaloosa County,” said Capelotti. “Now keep in mind the Okaloosa County stems from the state line up north all the way down to the coast. So we’re talking about areas of Crestview, Baker, you know those areas all the way down into Okaloosa Island, Destin, etc. “

A median would be if you had let’s just say you had 15 houses that were in the formulas that you’re looking for, for the sales area. The top seven would be the lowest, the lower bound seven would be the highest, and then the one in the middle is considered the media, which can change. For this area it is about 355K,” said Capelotti.

“Median list price is about 355, average sales price is about 485”

Joe Capelotti, ECAR President-elect

Looking at the market history, trends are typical to rise every summer with the military moving around the county and tourism increasing in the hotter months.

Capelotti said the market really took a turn in the later months of 2020 and has not bounced back down.

“I can definitely confirm it has been going up probably I would say mid-2020, late, mid to late 2020 is when we started really seeing the price change,” said Capelotti. “In the middle of summer, because of families, etc, and tourists frequent the area, that drives that desire to own that second home or that Rental property here in the area.”

YearMedian listingMedian Sold
August 2019$258,000$241,000
August 2020$285,000$275,000
August 2021$333,900$320,500
July 2022$399,000$352,415
Data pulled from Realtor.com
YearMedian Sold# homes sold# days on market
2019$260,00060166
2020$289,90067229
2021$322,40069710
2022$351,90053115
Data pulled from Redfin.com

Location, Location, Location

Capelotti said Okaloosa County is very diverse in the real estate market. Having towns up north can get you more bang for your buck when it comes to home buying, but the tourism aspect drives average prices up regardless.

“They need to kind of figure out where they are going to want to live. Of course, there are always big, big benefits to living it up in the northern part of the county ’cause you do get a bigger house for a little less money, but you have to add in that commute.”

Capelottie said an average commute from Crestview to Eglin will add 100,000 miles to a car in 2 years.

“It can get quite expensive on the vehicle side so they have to kind of figure that part out and see how that’s going to play into what they want to do,” said Capelotti. “Now if you move down into the Destin area, of course, that 485 is probably your starting point because the prices of homes in Destin are quite, quite higher.”

Where is the market going?

Supply and demand drive a market. Capelotti said being on the coast limits the area for new builds, making demand even more impactful to pricing trends.

“It’s much worse than it was 2 years ago. Our supply, unfortunately, is due to everything that is going on with the pandemic, and that you know with materials and the pipeline of getting materials to builders, most of your builders nowadays are building their homes and not even putting them on the market until they’re complete, because they don’t have an idea of the price they’re gonna list in order to get their return,” said Capelotti.

With supply stagnant and demand high, Capelotti said the market could balance out soon, but going down is not in the near future.

“Supply and demand are still very high. Our prices I like to say are kind of leveling out. They’re not really dropping in the market. Every seller who wanted to put a house in the market, they were pushing those limits to the very top every time they could, or a little bit higher because the market was allowing it, you know they were playing it,” said Capelotti. “I definitely think there are no price decreases foreseen in our area, probably better I would guess anywhere between the next year, year and a half.”

What should a buyer do?

According to Redfin, homes in Okaloosa County are in the market for 15 days or less. That is longer than last summer with 10 days or less from the listing to the sale date.

“House prices are gonna change and so are interest rates. So find the house, marry the house, and date the rate,” said Capelotti. “So when the rates drop, go in and get your reduce your rates to a better interest rate. That will save you a lot of money over the terms, but gets her house because it’s not gonna be there long that.”

Capelotti said there are many resources for those looking to make Okaloosa County their next home. ECAR has a list of more than 5,000 realtors spanning the coastline to the state line.